I’ve often thought that I should take more photos of Charles tantruming (probably not a word, but who cares?) so that I can either elicit sympathy from friends on the internet or keep them to show him when he is older. My parents probably wish they did this with me as they try to tell me that I was just as bad as Charles when it came to epic battles of will, crying over seemingly nothing at all, and rage-fests. Knowing that I tortured them as Charles is torturing me does make me feel better, but only because I know I ended up mostly fine and maybe he will, too.
But will I be fine? I found myself honestly wishing for a few moments yesterday that I could be back before all of this happened, back when we were looking to move to Mount Vernon, so that I could change some big life decisions. The first would be to not buy a house; I’m sure I’m not the only person in America who wishes he or she had not bought a house in 2007. But it’s not about the money, it’s about the crappiness that we didn’t notice because we had lived in junky little apartments our entire adult lives. Things that I am having to fix now, things that I would like to fix but are too expensive, things that are damned inconvenient that will never be fixed because they are a part of our stupid house and can’t be changed. If we had lived in an apartment for a year or two, sure, we wouldn’t have Buster and Charles might not have been born (but surely there would be another baby, just not Charles, just not timed as Charles was), but we would have been able to afford a much nicer house with fewer problems to be solved. Maybe even furniture that matched and home decor items other than stuff we find at the dump.
And then I did a mental slap and threw myself out of the funk and went to sleep, where I proceeded to have awful dreams about drowning while trying to save Charles in an overflowing pool that was inside a building with no windows and no way out except one door that I couldn’t get open. How’s that for subconscious guilt over wishing I could undo my life and the best thing in it, even if I only wished that for a few minutes?
The truth is, Charles was awful all weekend long, just plain horrendous. He refused to nap, he freaked out over little things, he threw kicking, screaming temper tantrums, and then, when he would get a second wind, he would climb all over me and the furniture like a freakish, little monkey. What do you do for that? What do you do when you’re six months pregnant and you can’t make your stubborn toddler sleep? And television is a reward, and you don’t want to reward bad behavior? You tough it out, I guess. And luckily, my mom was there, so at least I wasn’t alone and there is someone else in the world who believes that Charles can be this nasty because, I’ll tell you what, as soon as grandpa or daddy walks in the door at night, he is all smiles, an angel-toddler, a happy kid who sits right down and the table and wolfs down strawberries and leftover pizza and chocolate milk without a bit of fussing.
It’s these kinds of days that take the wind out of my sails after successfully potty-trianing and remind me that I really have no idea what the hell I am doing at all.
Charles and I are leaving for Phoenix on Thursday and I am so looking forward to the break. I think the bus ride and airport and plan will blow my two-year-old’s ever-loving mind, and I anticipate a good trip punctuated by solid napping. Because one must remain optimistic, right? I have the ipod, and I plan to get backup power for it tonight, I have Talking Carl and Minimals (animals in Charles-speak) and Toy Story 3 on the ipod, and a book of Curious George, his current favorite (though not Curious George Rides a Bike, which I have read approximately 11,236,748 times in the past 3 weeks and refuse to bring along). I have snacks. I should receive by tomorrow a roller for the carseat so I can use it as a stroller with strapped-in toddler throughout the airport. I think I am ready. Any suggestions from anyone who has traveled with children before?